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Participatory Budgeting Advances

Office of Civil Rights to Move Forward on Engagement with Community on Next Steps

Seattle, WA — Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, (District 2, South Seattle and the C/ID) and her Council colleagues unanimously, 9-0 voted to release over $1 million to support the Participatory Budgeting process, which will ultimately fund the largest appropriation to support a people-directed investment process for community safety projects in Seattle’s history.

The Seattle City Council included nearly $30 million in the 2021 budget for Participatory Budgeting, which will allow Seattle neighbors to vote on how to invest public dollars for community safety in a way that doesn’t center police. Council commissioned a community-led research project last fall, which highlighted the need for investments in housing and community spaces, mental health services, youth and children, crisis and wellness, and economic development to achieve true community health and safety.  

The legislation, Ordinance 120087, releases the funds and directs the Office of Civil Rights to partner with community members to draft a Request for Proposals (RFP) giving additional opportunities for neighbors to guide the PB process. OCR will then begin the search for an organization to manage and conduct the participatory budgeting process. The goal of this engagement is to break down institutional barriers, create transparency, and work toward an equitable outcome.  

“During last year’s budgeting process, and following the murder of George Floyd, community members made clear that City Hall needed to democratize access to power and resources, and make new investments in Black communities. The answer to this call by tens of thousands of people who demonstrated in Seattle for nearly 100 days was participatory budgeting, which gives real power to real people over real dollars -approximately $30 million in fact. Today’s legislation is a real milestone in this process. Now, we begin the biggest people-directed investment process that the City has ever funded. Whether it’s better parks, community safety programs, new investments in our youth, the Seattle community will soon have a real say in how the city spends a large portion of our budget,” Morales said. 

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